Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Interview | Dance Student Zoe Norbury

Tell us about yourself

Hello!! My name is Zoe, I’m 20 years old and I study BA (Hons) Dance at De Montfort University in Leicester. As well as being a lover for contemporary dance, I also live for being active, whether that be throwing weights in the gym and doing circuits, playing sports (I play Netball at uni) or just getting outdoors, I must be up and doing something. I also have my own little blog on Instagram and Wordpress where I share all things food, fitness and life-related, spreading positivity and self-love every day. I am a huge chocoholic and peanut butter addict so expect to see many pictures featuring the two!

What type of supplementary training do you do? What benefits have you seen from this training?

I find myself in the gym quite regularly, aiming to be there 3-4 times a week and ensuring I get in some rest days. I vary my training in each workout, so one day I will focus on just weights for strength training, slowly increasing the weights when I feel is needed. I will also do some circuit training, adding in a mixture of weight, body-weight/plyometric exercises to keep up my fitness and I just love feeling like a ninja.

Since beginning supplementary training, I’ve noticed a variety of benefits. My strength has increased majorly – I’ve noticed that my balance has improved and I’m able to control movements much more. Another benefit is that my fitness feels are at a high, meaning that I am able to take part in class without being out of breath easily and so can fully focus.

At what age or stage in your dance career did you realise supplementary training was necessary?

I realised that it felt necessary when I was in my final year of sixth form - pretty much when I started my whole journey into fitness and healthy eating. I started with HIIT training and then was encouraged by Youtubers/bloggers, my dad (who was a personal trainer) and my older brother to start introducing weights into my training. As the year went by I noticed how much stronger and confident I was in my dance training. I was able to maintain a good level of fitness, control my movements and balance, and I was able to perform with more power.

Can you summarise your own personal approach to supplementary training and nutrition?

My approach is to be balanced, and I am constantly preaching this. I started my training the wrong way: overtraining, eating way too little and restricting myself from foods if they weren’t ‘clean’. It took me a long time to realise how wrong this was and I began to research more into how I should train and rekindle my love for fitness and food. I now train at least 3-4 times (sometimes 2 if I am busy) a week and if I feel like I am too tired or injured, I listen to my body and make sure I rest. It is so crucial to allow our bodies to recover! As with nutrition, I learnt that food is fuel and to not categorise into ‘good’ or ‘bad’ which completely changed my mindset. I now make sure I am eating enough food every day, ensuring that I eat plenty of carbs (the beauty that gives us energy), protein and fats, as well as lots of veggies and chocolate, of course. Everything in moderation and it’s all about finding your own balance.
From your blog and Instagram it’s clear that you love food! Can you tell us your favourite snack to nibble on between classes?

I love food!! It makes me happy and fuels my body! Most of my technique classes are early morning so I always have breakfast which is a huge feature on my Instagram – zoats (oats with courgette). I will have this with a scoop of protein, berries, peanut butter and some form of chocolate (I find that starting my day with some chocolate stops me from wanting to eat all of it at the end of the day). If I have an afternoon class, I make sure I have some carbs beforehand and I love bananas! Sweet, tasty and gives me energy for the class.

How do you juggle your studies and make time for supplementary training?

I always organise my weeks with my weekly planner. I write down my timetabled classes and work the gym into it, making sure that I have enough rest time but also time to let off steam in the gym. I aim to have gym sessions on days when the technique class isn’t too intense otherwise my body will be exhausted and injuries could occur.

As a student dancer do you feel you are sufficiently educated and supported in injury care/management and methods to reduce injury? 

In all honesty, no. These topics aren’t sufficiently covered on my course and it is down to us to research these topics if we wish to do so (I tend to take out a couple of books from the library when I feel like I need more information). We do learn about anatomy and physiology on my course, however, it is more about the Alexander Technique and how we should direct ourselves in order to be more at a mechanical advantage. I feel that learning about injury care and safe dance practice should be enforced more onto any dance course as not many student dancers (or even some professional dancers) are entirely educated on how to reduce the risk of injury or how to treat them. I would love to be able to have a career in this sector, I want to help others take care of themselves.

Do you have a favourite exercise you’d like to share? 

Oh this is a tough one! I enjoy doing squats with the bar because I love seeing my strength slowly increase, it amazes me how strong our bodies are! However, I am a big lover of plyometric training and do love different variations of burpees (e.g. regular, to the floor, with a sandbag) and also lunge jumps! Call me crazy, but I love seeing how much endurance I have and how powerful I am when jumping. It’s great for the legs and glutes, and as dancers we need to have a strong base.

Thanks to Zoe for a great insight into her life as a Dance degree student! So glad to hear of such a positive attitude to dancer health. But it certainly sounds like there is a need for better education on degree courses...
Find Zoe on social media here and here

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